The Coalition’s proposed Drug Testing Trial in Mandurah is one step closer to becoming reality, with its legislation passing the House of Representatives.
The Bill was passed with unanimous support by the Coalition, despite opposition from the Labor Party.
Member for Canning Andrew Hastie supported the Bill, arguing it complemented action already taken by the Coalition in Mandurah.
“In Mandurah, the Drug-Testing Trial is part of a multipronged approach to fighting local drug abuse. The Coalition has invested in improving health services through the PYMS Health Hub and headspace, and in school education programs. And now with this program we’re directly identifying and coming alongside the people who need help.”
“The Drug Testing Trial provides further funding for local drug treatment services, and, crucially, it helps keep taxpayers' money out of the hands of drug dealers.”
The Trial is an innovate approach by the Coalition to assist job seekers struggling with substance abuse. Under the program, recipients of Youth Allowance and Newstart in Mandurah may be required to undergo a random drug test.
Those who test positive will have 80% of their payments placed on Income Management- still available to buy essentials, but unable to be withdrawn as cash. None of their payment will be cancelled.
Those who test positive a second time will be referred to a medical professional and have treatment for substance abuse incorporated into their Centrelink Job Plan.
As one of three trial sites, Mandurah will share in $10 million to boost local drug-treatment capacity and support.
Mr Hastie argued that the trial’s design expected nothing more from jobseekers than would be expected in employment.
“Drug addiction is a huge barrier to long-term employment. Many jobs today require regular drug tests. I was tested in my previous career. Drug testing is common in the mining industry, one of the biggest employers in WA. Even the City of Mandurah, who has opposed this trial, drug tests its employees.”
“Helping people get a job is the entire point of Newstart and Youth Allowance. So rather than letting these people be forgotten in the system, potentially for years with no change, the Drug Testing Trial identifies them early to receive the help they need to become drug-free and job ready.”
“The feedback I’ve received indicates that most people in Mandurah intuitively understand the sense in this plan. Many are already randomly tested at work and can't see the controversy. Others are actually surprised it doesn't happen already.
Mr Hastie acknowledged some members of the community had told him politicians should be tested as well.
“One of the more common objections that people have made about the Drug Testing Trial is to suggest politicians should be drug tested; that we should be setting the standard. I understand the sentiment.”
“Recently, I met with Brian Lloyd of Drug-Safe Workplaces Western Australia. Drug-Safe Workplaces collaborates with employers, staff and unions to implement drug and alcohol testing. Brian believes that drug testing should not be punitive and that it should be pre-emptive. By identifying early when someone has encountered substance abuse, we can act and help them before things get out of hand.”
“After speaking with Brian, and in light of some of the feedback it seems appropriate to lead by example. So next week, my team and I will undergo the same test proposed by this legislation.”
“Let's remember that this program is a trial. The government is trying something new in a further attempt to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
“This is sensible, practical and popular policy. Labor will have to answer to the Mandurah community if they continue to block the peoples' will.”
The Bill now goes before the Senate.
Jobs are on the rise in the City of Mandurah, with a report released today by the Department of Employment showing a sharp decrease in unemployment from 11.6% to 6.8%.
The good news is shared by the Shire of Murray which has experienced a similar drop from 10.7% to 6.5%.
The data, released in the Department of Employment’s, Small Area Labor Markets – September Quarter 2017, reveals that Mandurah recorded the largest decrease in the country, with the unemployment rate falling by 9.6% in Mandurah, 7.5% in Greenfields, and 6.1% in Mandurah South.
The Member for Canning Andrew Hastie welcomed the news, praising the resilience of the Peel region.
“A lot of people have been doing it tough -and we’re certainly not out of the woods yet- but this is very good news for the Peel region.”
“The government has been working hard to ensure there is sufficient support for people looking for work, while at the same time doing everything we can to stimulate growth.”
Minister for Employment Senator Michaela Cash welcomed the news, noting that it reflected strong national jobs growth.
“The economy has now created 14 consecutive months of jobs growth. This is actually the longest consecutive run of jobs growth since 1994.”
“Of the 383,300 jobs that have been created in the past 12 months, and more than 80% of these are fulltime jobs.”
Mr Hastie cited a number of policies and projects introduced by the federal government to support unemployment and job growth in the Peel region.
“We’ve introduced the Mandurah Employment Facilitator and the Stronger Transitions package to support people struggling to find work.
“We’ve backed local job creating projects like the Dwellingup National Trails Centre and Quambie Park aged care expansion in Waroona.
“And we’ve stimulated local small business with the lowest tax rate in 50 years, by removing red tape and by extending the instant asset write off.”
Mandurah-based developers have been given a boost to go global, thanks to a $519,245 innovation grant from the federal government.
Segnut Pty Ltd has developed a faster, safer fastening system with significant potential for the global industrial market. The nut design consists of an inner section with three segments, held captive by an outer sleeve. When the outer sleeve is turned in the tightening direction, the Segnut releases from the bolt and falls away.
“An innovative product like this is further evidence of the good things coming out of the Peel region,” Mr Hastie said.
“Segnut’s design is significantly safer for workers doing heavy industrial maintenance as it eliminates the need for oxy-cutting and other dangerous equipment. The increased efficiency it offers to maintenance will also mean significant savings for business.”
Segnut is one of eleven businesses to be offered $5 million in commercialisation grants announced by Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Craig Laundy under the Accelerating Commercialisation element of the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme.
“These grants will help the recipients to conduct commercialisation activities, proving the viability of their products, processes or services and preparing them for domestic and international markets,” Mr Laundy said.
“The businesses will also back themselves by matching the grant funding dollar-for-dollar, and the programme’s experienced Commercialisation Advisers will help them navigate this often challenging stage of product development.”
“Accelerating Commercialisation grants have already supported hundreds of projects across a wide range of industry sectors, and with Australian Government support, many are already achieving success in global markets.”
To date, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme has provided 264 businesses with commercialisation grants totalling $133.6 million.
Andrew Hastie MP has announced that retrenched workers in Mandurah will be eligible for assistance from the $10.3 million Stronger Transitions Package.
Mr Hastie said that Mandurah had been identified as one of five key regional areas Australia-wide that could access the package, which will focus on preparing workers in transitioning industries for jobs beyond their current employment.
“If workers do face retrenchment, the government will ensure there is support ready for them. That includes training and skills transitioning services, intensive jobactive support, relocation options and access to small business opportunities.” Mr Hastie said.
Mr Hastie said that support would begin prior to a worker’s retrenchment date and continue for months afterwards to ensure their transition is as smooth as possible.
“Work confers dignity and gives purpose. This package is about saying to workers in Mandurah: the federal government has your back. We support you.”
Minister Michaela Cash, Minister for Employment said that from 1 July 2018, retrenched workers will receive targeted support to help them move into their next job.
“The Australian Government is offering additional support because evidence from the automotive industry shows that helping people before they are retrenched better prepares them to move to their next job, including the jobs of the future,” Minister Cash said.
“Stronger Transitions will help workers back into employment, with elements of the support package based on the highly successful automotive industry Growth Fund model where government and business worked together to connect workers with new opportunities.”
In addition to Mandurah, support will be made available in Adelaide, North Queensland, North/North-West Tasmania and Melbourne North/West.Read more
Today’s opening of the Mandurah Trades Skills Centre at Coodanup Community College is a step toward growing employment opportunities in the Peel region.
Under the Trade Training Centres in Schools Program, the federal government has contributed $3,285,000 to help transition local students from school into the workforce and on to careers.
Member for Canning Andrew Hastie welcomed the Training Centre, speaking of Mandurah’s need to equip students with high quality vocational skills.
“It is great to be here and to see the federal government’s vision for vocational training become a reality in Coodanup,” Mr Hastie said.
“We’re going through a time of technological change. That means much of our economy will be digitalised and service based, but we still need to train our youth for the nuts and bolts practical jobs that won’t disappear.
“The Centre will equip students with the real world skills they need to get a job in our transitioning economy,” said the Member for Canning.
Mr Hastie welcomed the Centre’s inclusion of painting and construction workshops.
“There are communities right across Australia that are facing skill shortages in trades like painting, plumbing and carpentry.
“So the skills that students will develop at the Mandurah Trades Skills Centre will not only benefit Coodanup, they will be skills that could potentially put them on a pathway for jobs in industries anywhere in Australia.
“I congratulate the entire school community for its foresight in getting this centre up and running,” he said.Read more
The people of Canning achieved a big win on Thursday, with the Minister for Health Greg Hunt annoucing that a headspace facility will be established in Mandurah.
The announcement comes after an extended campaign by local youth health service providers and federal MP Andrew Hastie.
Andrew Hastie said young people in Canning faced many challenges and this new service would provide a significant boost of support.
“The establishment of a headspace in Mandurah is a victory for the people of Canning,” Mr Hastie said.
“Eleanor Britton and the team at GP Down South have collected over 3000 signatures in support of a headspace in Mandurah. It’s thanks to this groundswell of community support that our efforts have been successful."
“The challenges we face in youth mental health are significant, but the inclusion of a headspace within the Peel Youth Medial Service (PYMS) Health Hub will be an important part of the solution.
“Early intervention is absolutely critical to helping young people with mental health issues. The Mandurah headspace will deliver front-line services and coordinate the right interventions for at risk young people.
“Today’s announcement shows the federal government is listening and responding to the difficulties faced in the Peel region. I thank Minister for Health Greg Hunt for being so receptive to our calls for help."
The Minister was in Mandurah yesterday to make the announcement, saying Mandurah was the third location in Australia to receive one of ten new headspaceyouth mental health services.
“I am committed to ensuring that Australians can get information, advice, counselling or treatment, when and where they need it,” Minister Hunt said.
“In particular I want to thank Andrew Hastie for his unwavering determination in building the case for the Mandurah headspace.”
The Turnbull Government is investing an extra $28.9 million for ten new headspaceservices, in regional and rural communities, bringing the total number of centres to 110 by 2019.
headspace offers early intervention for 12 to 25 year olds in four key areas – mental health, related physical health, social and vocational support, and alcohol and other drug use.
Mandurah headspace will now begin a planning phase with services expected to be available within 12 months.